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DATE: January 17, 2018

NAME: Versions of Resources in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: German National Library

SUMMARY: This paper explores different ways to designate in a MARC record that a resource is available in a specific version, e.g. as preprint, postprint, publisher’s version, etc., including, but not limited to values from NISO-RP-8-2008 “Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group”.

KEYWORDS: Version information (BD); Versions of resources (BD); Field 008/24-27 (Books) (BD); Field 655 (BD); Index Term-Genre/Form (BD); Field 562 (BD); Copy and Version Identification Note (BD); Field 250 (BD); Edition Statement (BD)

RELATED: 2007-06 and its part 2007-06/6

01/17/18 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

Discussion Paper No. 2018-DP06: Versions of Resources


The German National Library collects electronic resources, including journal articles in electronic form, at a large scale. Most of the processes are automated, given the fact that the number of electronic resources is constantly growing, and no time can be invested into intellectual cataloging. By legal deposit, publishers are obliged to provide both the resources and metadata that after conversions can be used for import routines into the central database. Among the metadata formats in use and recommended to the publishers is the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.

Electronic journal articles can be provided in different versions. During the different steps up to the final publication and beyond there may be preprint, postprint, publisher’s version, and others. Sometimes the content of the versions does differ significantly from step to step, but often this is more a matter of layout. With the different publication and access models in mind, it is important not to match different versions erroneously, but instead to be able to distinguish them from each other, so that users can identify them in a clearly visible way in order to obtain the version that they have searched for, or a version that is good enough and easily accessible.

Analyzing the need for the designation of versions of resources, a helpful paper is the 2008 publication by NISO, NISO-RP-8-2008, entitled “Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group: A Recommended Practice of the National Information Standards Organization in partnership with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers”, prepared by the NISO/ALPSP Journal Article Versions (JAV) Technical Working Group. It is available online at: (PDF, 37 pages, 216 KB in size).

Quoting from the introduction, these “recommendations provide a simple, practical way of describing the versions of scholarly journal articles that typically appear online before, during, and after formal journal publication.” A list of codes and terms is given, with descriptions, including definitions and notes:

AO = Author’s Original
SMUR = Submitted Manuscript Under Review
AM = Accepted Manuscript
P = Proof
VoR = Version of Record
CVoR = Corrected Version of Record
EVoR = Enhanced Version of Record

A variety of use cases is provided as well.

In comparison, the “OpenAIRE Guidelines for Literature Repositories” have a list of values for a “Publication Version” at :


while in the list at the following entry occurs:



Handling these values in MARC can be discussed as different options:

2.1. Option 1

As a first option, a coded designation may be possible, i.e. in field 008. Since 2007 there is a code in field 008 for books, positions 24-27 (Nature of contents) with code 2 (Offprints), defined as “Publication that originally was published as an article in a monograph or a serial and that is also issued separately and independently. Includes preprints and postprints.” The different versions would each need one code, with not many code values left (h, x, 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8).

2.2. Option 2

As a second option, a designation as genre / form term in field 655 (Index Term - Genre/Form) is something that can be discussed. Providing the terms from e.g. the NISO recommendations in field 655 may be a way to control different versions of articles, so that they can be distinguished from each other. Even a URI identifying a version may have its place in field 655 subfield $0 and/or subfield $1. The vocabulary that is used would have to be registered by NDMSO, to form the designator in subfield $2 (Source of term). It may however be doubtful whether a version of a resource is to be seen as a genre or form of the resource.

2.3. Option 3

As a third option, the usage of field 562 (Copy and Version Identification Note) should be discussed. It is defined for “information that distinguishes the copy(s) or version(s) of materials when more than one copy or version exists or could exist.” Field 562 has a subfield $c (Version identification), for “Information such as names, codes, or descriptions used to identify a version that differs in content but is related across time to another version, such as an edition. NOTE: Statements relating to versions of manuscript works existing in two or more versions or states in single or multiple copies are recorded in field 250 (Edition Statement).” The field may be a good candidate, although its relatively narrow scope and item level orientation should be taken into account.

2.4. Option 4

The fourth option is the designation of a version as a part of or in the context of the edition statement in field 250. Here the approach would be a textual one.

Field 250 is currently defined in the Bibliographic format as follows:

250 - Edition Statement (R)

Both indicator positions are undefined; each contains a blank (#).

Subfield codes:

$a - Edition statement (NR)
Edition statement that usually consists of numeric and alphabetic characters and accompanying words and/or abbreviations. If an edition statement appears in more than one language, only the first edition statement is recorded in subfield $a. [...]

$b - Remainder of edition statement (NR)
Usually, a statement of personal or corporate responsibility and/or a parallel edition statement. [...]

$3 - Materials specified (NR)
Information to differentiate the multiple statements of the described materials to which the field applies.

$6 - Linkage (NR)

$8 - Field link and sequence number (R)

Field Definition and Scope
Information relating to the edition of a work as determined by applicable cataloging rules.

For mixed materials, field 250 is used to record statements relating to collections that contain versions of works existing in two or more versions (or states) in single or multiple copies (e.g., different drafts of a film script).

For continuing resources, this field is not used for sequential edition statements such as 1st- ed. This type of information is contained in field 362 (Dates of Publication and/or Volume Designation).

A key question here is whether the existing subfield $a (Edition statement) is sufficient for distinguishing different versions according to vocabularies listing and defining versions of resources, e.g. NISO-RP-8-2008. Subfield $a is transcribed from the resource, and may consist of a variety of terms, different in length, language, and formulated according to different rules and policies, whereas the term used for describing a version is not always taken from the resource itself, and its variety is relatively limited. Combinations of edition statements on the one hand, and version information on the other hand may occur.

So this option may result in the definition of a new subfield in field 250, to carry version information. The new subfield may be defined as follows:

$v – Version information (NR)
Version information of the resource, such as “preprint”, “postprint” or “publisher’s version” of electronic articles. Terms from a controlled vocabulary, e.g. NISO-RP-8-2008, may be used.

The subfield code $v is chosen here because it does not seem to conflict with other possible additions to the field (e.g. $c for a statement of responsibility), and for mnemotechnical reasons.


MARC record for journal article, preprint version, adapted

LDR 00915naa a2200445uc 4500
003 DE-101
007 cr||||||||||||
008 150730s2015\\\\\\\|||||o||||\00||||eng\\
016 7# $2DE-101$a11XXXXXXXX
035 ## $a(DE-599)DNB11XXXXXXXX
040 ## $a1140$bger$cDE-101$d9999
041 ## $aeng
100 1# $0(DE-588)1022734555$0$0(DE-101)1022734555$aAltmann, Philipp$4aut
245 00 $a"The Right to Self-determination": Right and Laws Between Means of Oppression and Means of Liberation in the Discourse of the Indigenous Movement of Ecuador$helectronic resource$cby Philipp Altmann
300 ## $aOnline-Ressource$bonline resource.
336 ## $aText$btxt$2rdacontent
337 ## $aComputermedien$bc$2rdamedia
338 ## $aOnline-Ressource$bcr$2rdacarrier
250 ## $vPreprint
850 ## $aDE-101a$aDE-101b
856 40 $u[URL]$xAuthor’s homepage
856 #0 $u$xLangzeitarchivierung Nationalbibliothek

MARC record for journal article, publisher’s version, based on

LDR 01915naa a2200445uc 4500
001 110915559X
003 DE-101
007 cr||||||||||||
008 160730s2015\\\\gw\|||||o||||\00||||eng\\
016 7# $2DE-101$a110915559X
022 ## $a1572-8722
024 7# $2doi$a10.1007/s11196-015-9415-z
024 7# $2urn$aurn:nbn:de:1111-201607305456
035 ## $a(DE-599)DNB110915559X
040 ## $a1140$bger$cDE-101$d9999
041 ## $aeng
100 1# $0(DE-588)1022734555$0
$0(DE-101)1022734555$aAltmann, Philipp$4aut
245 00 $a"The Right to Self-determination": Right and Laws Between Means of Oppression and Means of Liberation in the Discourse of the Indigenous Movement of Ecuador$helectronic resource$cby Philipp Altmann
250 ## $vPublisher’s version
300 ## $aOnline-Ressource$bonline resource.
336 ## $aText$btxt$2rdacontent
337 ## $aComputermedien$bc$2rdamedia
338 ## $aOnline-Ressource$bcr$2rdacarrier
710 2# $aSpringerLink (Online service)
773 08 $7|||s$gvolume:29$gnumber:1$gday:28$gmonth:2$gyear:2015$gpages:121-134$gdate:3.2016
773 08 $iIn:$tInternational journal for the semiotics of law $dDordrecht [u.a.] : Springer Science + Business Media B.V, 1988-$hOnline-Ressource$w(DE-600)2015745-9$w(DE-101)02048044X
850 ## $aDE-101a$aDE-101b
856 40 $u$xResolving-System
856 #0 $u$xLangzeitarchivierung Nationalbibliothek
856 4# $u


Decision would be needed on whether the content is bf:version (literal) or bf:editionStatement (literal) or whether an object property might need to be used.


5.1. Is the need to provide version information of electronic articles and similar resources sufficiently demonstrated in this paper?

5.2. Which one of the four options (code, genre/form, note, part of edition statement) is worth exploring?

5.3. If the note option using field 562 is explored, does field 562 need format changes to cover the described distinctions?

5.4. If the edition option using field 250 is explored, is the need for a separate new subfield $v for “version information” sufficiently demonstrated in this paper?

5.5. Are there any other potential problems that should be taken into account?

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